Electric cars are revolutionizing the automotive industry, and when you look under the hood, they look completely different than a vehicle with an internal combustion engine.
But when you’re looking at everything an electric vehicle has, you might not be able to find the transmission. The reason for this is that an electric vehicle’s transmission looks and works completely differently than transmissions on other types of vehicles.
So, while electric vehicles still have a transmission and a gearbox, they look entirely different than what you’re probably used to.
What is a One-Gear Transmission?
At the core transmissions on electric vehicles and transmissions on internal combustion engines work the same way. But while they work the same way, electric vehicles have a huge advantage that allows manufacturers to simplify the transmission quite a bit.
Internal combustion engines need to stay within a set range of RPMs to keep the engine from stalling while providing the desired level of performance. On the flip side, internal combustion engines can’t operate at very high rotational speeds without damaging the engine either!
Because of this, the transmission needs to change the gear ratio to get the desired power output even as the engine keeps the same rotational speed. This is why a transmission on a conventional vehicle has so many gears – it allows the engine to stay at a safe RPM range!
Vehicles with electric transmissions don’t have this problem. They can achieve peak performance at zero RPMs and can safely operate at up to 20,000 RPMs. They still need the transmission to transfer power from the motor to the wheels, but because of the wide operating range of the motor, it only needs one gear!
Can Electric Cars Have Multiple Gears?
While almost every electric vehicle has a one-gear transmission, an all-electric vehicle can have a transmission with multiple gears. There are two primary examples of this currently on the road, the Porsche Taycan and the very first Tesla Roadsters.
Both these vehicles have a two-gear transmission. The advantage of these systems is that it allows the vehicles to switch to different gear ratios for different conditions. They aren’t the most efficient options though, they’re all about maximizing power and performance.
While no one knows exactly what the future holds in the automotive industry, it certainly seems like electric vehicles are here to stay. Multi-gear transmissions might have a place in high-end electric cars, but as the technology improves, there’s a good chance single-gear transmissions will be able to handle these applications too.
Electric vehicles are completely different than internal combustion engines, but once you take the time to figure out how they work, they’re a lot simpler in many ways – the transmission is just one of them!